Low Temperature Physics: 30, 528 (2004); https://doi.org/10.1063/1.1789111 (7 pages)
Физика Низких Температур: Том 30, Выпуск 7-8 (Июль 2004), c. 705-713    ( к оглавлению , назад )

Spontaneous and persistent currents in superconductive and mesoscopic structures

Igor O. Kulik

Department of Physics, Bilkent University, Ankara 06533, Turkey
Physics Department, Stony Brook University, 11794 Stony Brook, NY, USA

B. Verkin Institute for Low Temperature Physics and Engineering of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, 47 Lenin Ave., Kharkov 61103, Ukraine
E-mail: iokulik@yahoo.com

Received February 4, 2004


We briefly review aspects of superconductive persistent currents in Josephson junctions of the S/I/S, S/O/S and S/N/S types, focusing on the origin of jumps in the current versus phase dependences, and discuss in more detail the persistent as well as «spontaneous» currents in the Aharonov–Bohm mesoscopic and nanoscopic (macromolecular) structures. A fixed-number-of-electrons mesoscopic or macromolecular conducting ring is shown to be unstable against structural transformation removing spatial symmetry (in particular, azimuthal periodicity) of its electron- lattice Hamiltonian. In case when the transformation is blocked by strong coupling to an external azimuthally symmetric environment, the system becomes bistable in its electronic configuration at certain number of electrons. At such a condition, the persistent current has a nonzero value even at the (almost) zero applied Aharonov–Bohm flux, and results in very high magnetic susceptibility dM/dH at small nonzero fields, followed by an oscillatory dependence at larger fields. We tentatively assume that previously observed oscillatory magnetization in cyclic metallo-organic molecules by Gatteschi et al. can be attributed to persistent currents. If this proves correct, it may open an opportunity (and, more generally, macromolecular cyclic structures may suggest the possibility) of engineering quantum computational tools based on the Aharonov–Bohm effect in ballistic nanostructures and macromolecular cyclic aggregates.

73.23.-b - Electronic transport in mesoscopic systems
74.50.+r - Tunneling phenomena; point contacts, weak links, Josephson effects (for SQUIDs, see 85.25.Dq; for Josephson devices, see 85.25.Cp; for Josephson junction arrays, see 74.81.Fa)